Feb. 26, 2015

HARRISBURG – Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton) today joined a majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing historic legislation that would privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania. Simmons is a co-sponsor of House Bill 466, which now heads to the Senate for consideration. Similar legislation was approved by the House during the 2013-14 session but the Senate failed to take action.

“A majority of Pennsylvanians are tired of dealing with our antiquated and inefficient system for selling wine and spirits,” said Simmons. “Today’s vote sends a message that state government is working for ‘we the people’ and not the special interests. I urge our friends in the Senate to send that same message and finally get the Commonwealth out of the booze business.”

Among other things, House Bill 466 would create 1,200 wine and spirits licenses, generating up to $1.1 billion in up-front revenue. As many as 600 more licenses would possibly be issued after all the state stores close. Beer distributors would be given the first opportunity to obtain a license, allowing them to become the only one-stop shops for beer, wine and spirits. Grocery stores would be licensed to sell wine only, with a maximum of 12 bottles per transaction.

The measure also would assign state troopers to the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and, for the first time in state history, subject all wine and spirits retailers to age compliance checks.

In addition, liquor privatization would greatly reduce the amount of tax revenue that now goes to surrounding states, where wine and spirits prices are lower. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board reports that “border bleed” results in the loss of sales and tax revenues totaling at least $313 million annually.

The final vote tally in the House was 114 to 87.

For more information on Simmons and his legislative priorities, please visit RepSimmons.com or Facebook.com/RepSimmons.

Representative Justin Simmons
131st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Andy Briggs
RepSimmons.com / Facebook.com/RepSimmons